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Suit Blames Videogames for Homicides 623

Posted by Zonk
from the people-no-longer-responsible-for-own-actions-film-at-11 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Family members of three victims of a shooting by a 14-year-old have filed a $600 million lawsuit against the makers of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. From the article: 'The $600 million lawsuit names several companies and Cody Posey, who it alleges played the game ''obsessively'' for several months before he shot his father, stepmother and stepsister in July 2004 ... The plaintiffs accuse the corporate defendants -- Sony Corporation of America, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and its subsidiary, Rockstar Games -- of a civil conspiracy, saying they should have foreseen their entertainment would spawn such copycat violence.'" It may or may not be a coincidence that Jack Thompson is the plaintiff's attorney.
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Suit Blames Videogames for Homicides

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  • by malsdavis (542216) * on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:09AM (#16245329)
    This suit has absolutely no chance of success. Apart from being naive in its entirety, it would go against many precedent cases.

    "Sam Donaldson's New Mexico ranch sued the makers of the video game ''Grand Theft Auto: Vice City'' on Monday, claiming the crimes would not have occurred had the teenager never played the violent game."

    He would never have shot them if he didn't have access to the gun either. Simply put, since gun makers aren't accountable for unintended actions carried out with their products, neither are game makers.

    "The game trained him ''how to point and shoot a gun in a fashion making him an extraordinarily effective killer."

    By that rationale, most action films would also be complicit in many homicides. This accusation has been thrown out of court so many times I won't even bother to cite individual cases.

    "The plaintiffs accuse the corporate defendants [...] of a ''civil conspiracy,'' saying they should have foreseen their entertainment ''would spawn such copycat violence"

    Again, gun and knife makers know their products can be used to commit homicides in the wrong hands yet can't be held accountable so neither can the game producers.

    I'm sure however their lawyers - who probably strongly encouraged them to pursue the case - will still get paid regardless of the absolute certainty that the case will fail.
    • by garcia (6573) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16245515)
      "The game trained him ''how to point and shoot a gun in a fashion making him an extraordinarily effective killer."

      Guns aren't difficult to use and, as you already pointed out, movies and TV also show you exactly how to hold and fire a gun that makes you just as effective. This comment is nothing more than hype to confuse the media and eventually the jury.

      The only difference I see between typical gun cases and video game cases is the money behind the gun cases coming from the pro-Second Ammendment folks.
      • by Thansal (999464) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:26AM (#16245715)
        My personal favorite for arguments like this (that the game trained him how to shoot a gun) is that they use it for EVERY case, including the ones where the game could NOT have trained him to use a gun (Like GTA).

        Trying this on on an FPS, I can sorta get (except for the lank of relation between an FPS gun and a real gun). However, tryign this out on a game where you AUTO AIM just does not work!

        cmon, I for am having a hard time finding the R1 button on my rifle so that it will aim at some one.....
        • by garignak (611737) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:36AM (#16245915)
          I for am having a hard time finding the R1 button on my rifle so that it will aim at some one..... Personally, I'd like to find the unlimited ammo cheat for mine. Ammo isn't getting any cheaper.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I guess the child never walked through a hotel lobby or bus depot with an arcade gun game too.
        • by msobkow (48369) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:21AM (#16246807) Homepage Journal

          How do I plug my keyboard and mouse into a sniper rifle so I can aim and fire?

          What!?!?!?! You mean I have to actually run around with the danged thing instead of sitting in a chair?

          Yeesh! Next thing you'll be telling me is shells don't appear in magical floating boxes as I wander the streets... :p

          Seriously, maybe it's time to yank the lawyer's bar. Too many such morons waste the time and resources of the public courts, hoping to leverage cash for the lawyer's firm. After all, what have they got to lose? If they don't win the case, they just try to get the plaintiff to pay their fees.

        • by illumin8 (148082) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:36PM (#16248105) Journal
          My personal favorite for arguments like this (that the game trained him how to shoot a gun) is that they use it for EVERY case, including the ones where the game could NOT have trained him to use a gun (Like GTA).
          I'm going to quote some Eminem lyrics here for extreme truth:

          They say music can alter moods and talk to you,
          Well can it load a gun up for you, and cock it too?
          Well if it can, then the next time you assault a dude,
          Just tell the judge it was my fault and i'll get sued.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Yes, Em is a much deeper thinker than we give him credit for. Of course, you have to wade through a lot more shit than in, say, Rage Against the Machine, but it's there. Back to the Real Slimshady for these classic anti-censorship lyrics:

            And that's the message that we deliver to little kids
            And expect them not to know what a woman's clitoris is
            Of course they gonna know what intercourse is
            By the time they hit fourth grade
            They got the Discovery Channel don't they?

      • by arth1 (260657) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:31AM (#16245817) Homepage Journal
        Guns aren't difficult to use and, as you already pointed out, movies and TV also show you exactly how to hold and fire a gun that makes you just as effective.

        More effective, even. At least in a movie you learn about recoil and sometimes even aim adjustments, and the bangs are much louder (not nearly what they are in real life, though -- unless the kid had been subjected to real gunfire before, his head ringing and being half dead after a shot must have come as a shock).

        Regards,
        --
        *Art
      • by general scruff (938598) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:41AM (#16246029) Journal
        Guns aren't difficult to use

        Ok, I can agree with that, however, it is an entirely different thing to point that gun at a human being and pull the trigger. I'm sure you are familiar with the anecdote regarding the percentage of soldiers in WWI that couldn't bring themselves to shoot another human being. Target practice at that time was a simple bullseye. When the target was changed to the sillouitte of a human, the percentage of those able to fire a gun at another human increased greatly.

        Now, instead of a sillouitte, we have a highly graphic representation of what killing someone is really like. You see them moan, hold thier abdomen, and cry out in agony. If you see that in a video game continously, what happens when those with the predisposition to violence finally snap? Now, instead of feeling remorse at the first dead victim, they feel like they can keep going because their brain is used the hearing the painfull pleas of a dying person.

        I don't think that violent video games are the only cause of all violence, and I don't think that everyone playing them will cause violence just because, and I certainly don't think that $600M will make any difference either way. But don't say that violent video games can't and don't cause ANY harm, because I will just right you off as biased, unreasoning, and ignorant.
        • by bmw (115903) * on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:53AM (#16246243)
          Oh please... When it comes to video games and movies, I am one of the most violent, sick and twisted individuals you will ever meet. I love to torture, maim and kill. When it comes to real life, I am one of the most kind, caring people you will ever meet. It would be impossible for me to shoot or stab or bomb another human being and even attempting to do so would make me sick to my stomach. Violence in video games and movies does NOT desensitize you to violence in the real world.
          • by Scrameustache (459504) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:56AM (#16247433) Homepage Journal
            It would be impossible for me to shoot or stab or bomb another human being and even attempting to do so would make me sick to my stomach.

            I used to think, back when I was a small, angelic child, that I could never punch someone. Then this kid kept pestering me, and he got a fist to the forehead, knocked him on his ass.

            It's a question of when push comes to shove... I never seeked out agression, but when it came, it found me unwilling, but quite able.

            Violence in video games and movies does NOT desensitize you to violence in the real world.

            In fact, I think that violent movies and games are usefull in reducing agressive tendencies, through catharsis.
            When I'm stressed out, and I feel like dragging jerks out of their cars and forcing them to swallow their turn-signal levers, a good violent flick will calm me down. Then I can drive and tolerate the ubiquitous stupidity for another day.
          • by partisanX (1001690) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:54PM (#16248401) Homepage
            Before I played command and conquer, I would have found the concept of global domination repugnant. Now I can't stop plotting. I've ordered major offenses in two foreign countries, and I've been eyeballing two others. I have found though, that in real life, it's not as easy as it is in C&C, so I'm thinking if I can't turn things around soon, I'll probably sue the makers of C&C.

            -GWB
        • by Damastus the WizLiz (935648) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:55AM (#16246279)
          I still blame parents. I have played video games all of my life I have never picked up a gun and shot someone. My parents taught me the line between fantasy and reality and reinforced it. My father taught me how to point and shoot a gun at the age of 5. He also taught me to respect them. If parents can't monitor what their kids are doing and teach them the difference between TV/Video games and the real world then how can children be expected to know. More so, if parents don't want them exposed to this level of violence then it is up to the parents to not give them access. How can anyone blame the maker of a video game for anything when it's the parents that put it into the kid's hands in the first place?
        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:40AM (#16247141) Homepage
          I'm sure you are familiar with the anecdote regarding the percentage of soldiers in WWI that couldn't bring themselves to shoot another human being. Target practice at that time was a simple bullseye. When the target was changed to the sillouitte of a human, the percentage of those able to fire a gun at another human increased greatly.

          Yes, but there's an important distinction: The soldiers knew they were training to kill other people, knew that the silhouette that was their target was designed to represent the real humans they were training to kill, and thus were consciously building an association between those targets and the real humans they would eventually shoot.

          Sane people are easily able to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Training a soldier to kill involves deliberately and consciously eroding that barrier to allow them to train on fake targets. And don't forget to say that while the percentage went up, indicating that the training was better, there was still a large percentage of soldiers who were still unable to shoot on real targets.

          Soldiers -- professional killers, deliberately trying to gain the ability to fire on real humans with the full encouragement of their superiors, still find it difficult. But video games do this automatically and subconsciously in normal teenagers? Whatever.

          If you deliberately use a video game with human-esque targets to train yourself to be able to shoot real humans, then sure it can have the same effect. But so could drawing a cutout of a human torso, handing it on the wall, and pointing at it while saying "Bang!" because it's pretty much the same level of realism and real connection. At the point at which someone is using video games to train themselves to kill in real life, then they're already lost.


          Now, instead of a sillouitte, we have a highly graphic representation of what killing someone is really like.


          Emphasis mine, and you've got to be kidding me. Have you ever actually touched GTA, or even seen a screenshot?! You'd have to be insane to think any depiction of death in a video game is what it is really like. There is no video game in existence that approaches the reality of something like Saving Private Ryan, but apparently that isn't responsible for training our teens to murder.

          But don't say that violent video games can't and don't cause ANY harm, because I will just right you off as biased, unreasoning, and ignorant.

          Oh please. Neither you nor anyone else has shown that violent video games cause ANY harm in someone not already intent on violence and that any other form of stimulation wouldn't have caused equally. It doesn't matter if it's a video game, a book, a movie, or a silhouette they paint on the side of the barn -- a person with murderous intent will find a way to steel themselves for it, GTA or no.

          Saying otherwise because you just assume video games are different and magical means you're just biased, unreasoning, and ignorant.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aztektum (170569)
          Sorry dude, but it's the same thing as "Guns don't kill, people kill." Video games don't cause any harm to unfortunate victims of a nut case who was f'd up in the first place. It's not Rockstar's fault this idiot was probably raised by crappy parents. It's like this all the time. Look at the kids who did the Columbine shooting. Their parents just thought they were quiet kids not getting into trouble. I bet dollars to donuts the parents didn't even CHECK to see what they were doing.

          When some moron goes and k
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Temsi (452609)
          OK, you used the words "predisposition to violence".
          I believe you've unwittingly hit the nail on the head by bringing that up.

          Violent games or movies do not "cause" violence. The cause is the person with a predisposition to violence.
          Violent games or movies do not cause harm in the sense you are implying (and, by the way, good job in throwing out a two-fer, a strawman argument and an ad hominem right off the bat in an effort to stifle any arguments).

          At most, violent games and movies can give new ideas to th
      • by russ1337 (938915) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:07AM (#16246557)
        >>> "The game trained him ''how to point and shoot a gun in a fashion making him an extraordinarily effective killer."

        [Scene 1]

        Defence Attorney: "Can the member of the Jury who have not played a First Person Shooter video game raise their hands"

        Defence Attorney: *Identifies little grey haired old lady*

        Defence Attorney: Jury member number 3, can you please aim this Plastic 9mm glock at the Judge.

        Defence Attorney: *hands old lady the replica*
        Little old lady: *points gun at judge*

        Defence Attorney: "where the heck did you learn to point a gun!??"

        Jury Member: " oh, on the news and from watching 'Cops'"

        Defence Attorney team: *high-fives*
      • by StarvingSE (875139) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:24AM (#16246859)
        Why is it that video games in arcades (yes,they do still exist) and in movie theaters don't take any heat in these lawsuits?? I would think games like Time Splitters or Police Trainer where you actually have a physical gun and shoot things on the screen would teach you more about operating a real gun than the auto-aiming goodness of GTA.

        This is just a ploy to make a buck off of a successful game maker. The damn game has an "M for Mature" sticker on it for a reason. Why don't the plaintiffs start being parents and not stock guns within easy reach of their children.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      If this DOES work, then maybe we can sue slashdot for teaching us how to be nice to our girlfriends.
      I still have OMG ponies! nightmares and occasionally give in to the subliminal niceness urges and buy her some flowers.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      He would never have shot them if he didn't have access to the gun either. Simply put, since gun makers aren't accountable for unintended actions carried out with their products, neither are game makers.

      And even with access to the gun, it required volition to commit murder, i.e. he'd have to say to himself "I want to kill someone." Whether the video game had anything to do with it or not can't be separated from the other events in this kid's environment (family problems, school trouble, possible depressi

    • by JBHarris (890771) <bharris AT isf DOT com> on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:21AM (#16245609)
      While I agree with your statement that this case has no chance of success, I come to my judgement based on the premise that those most DIRECTLY responsible are to blame.

      First, the child.
      Then, the parents that allowed him to play a violent game 'obsessively'.

      There really is no one else to blame. Not the gun manufacturer, not the game developer/publisher, not even society.

      To propose reasons as to why a person would commit a crime is to de-criminalize the perpetrator. It matters not WHY someone did something wrong, what matters is that they did it. To tell them it isn't there fault is to take away thier humanity. If we start down the road where a video game can make someone less human, then I propose all those people that blame video games for their actions be killed in the most inhumane way possible. I mean after all...they are less human by their own admission.

      On a completely different note, the child must not have learned too much from the video game. If he had studied the game closer, he would know that a flame thrower will get rid of all the police and if you find a blue star power-up it makes all the police attention go away....I bet he didn't even look for a blue star. n00b!

      Brad
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:03AM (#16246467) Homepage Journal
        "There really is no one else to blame. Not the gun manufacturer, not the game developer/publisher, not even society."
        Really?
        I don't blame the game developer but then is it really wise to develop a game the rewards acts that is anti-social?
        Think about it this light. How many times have we praised a movie or say a book like 1984, Brave New World, Gentleman's Agreement, Uncle Tom's cabin, or of a number of other acts of fiction because they made us think?
        If a book or movie can move people in a positive way then it is logical that a book or movie like, say the Turner Diaries can move people in a negative way?
        If a book or movie can "change someones life". Then it can change someones life.
        If a book or movie can do that then couldn't a video game?
        I don't think it can only work one way. If art and literature is important because it can convey powerful messages then it is only logical that it convey powerful negative messages.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rogerborg (306625)
          You seem to be confusing in-game acts and real life acts. I suggest, sir, that if you want to see the real problem here, that you look in a mirror.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RexRhino (769423)
          Except, if you ever played any of the GTA series, you would know it is a PARODY of the ganster/criminal genre movies. It is a SILLY game. It is like an Airplane! or Scary Movie style parody of violence. To claim that it is some moving masterpiece that would spiritually move people into commiting acts of violence is not credible. The only people who would suggest that GTA inspires violence are people who are not familiar with the game.

          Regardless, in a free society we expect people to be able to handle negati
      • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Khammurabi (962376) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:13AM (#16246633)
        The $600 million lawsuit names several companies and Cody Posey, who it alleges played the game ''obsessively'' for several months before he shot his father, stepmother and stepsister in July 2004
        So...the father and stepmother let him play GTA "obsessively" for months, and now those same parental units are dead as a direct result. I know it sounds terribly cruel by implying this, but in this case it looks like bad parenting and improper gun control killed them.

        If I left my kid alone to watch slasher movies and Ted Bundy documentaries ad nauseum, should I be surprised when he starts mimicking the behavior? If I allow my kid to visit chat rooms without occasional supervision or education, should I be surprised if a pedophile tries to introduce him or herself?

        I realize that parents want their kids to be happy, but you're their parent, not the birthday clown trying to entertain them. Sometimes you just have to be a bastard for their own good.
        • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

          by adwarf (1002867) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:20PM (#16247861)
          There is no way they can blame games for this. Thompson is just trying bring as many cases as he can to civil trial and blame them on games, hoping that he can brainwash enough people who only hear the headline, "Violent Video Games Blamed for..." Cody Posey was a sick individual. He watch his mother die in a car accident at age 10 and was sexually and physically abused by his father and his step-mother. He probably would have been found been found innocent if he hadn't shot his step-sister so that she wouldn't tell on him and then try to hide the murder. In the end the courts found him guilty and charge him as a juvenile because, "There is evidence that the situational nature of the violence makes it less likely that the respondent will pose a future danger to the public." [courttv.com] [courttv.com] Basically thecourt says the killings were a result of the abuse and that Cody was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Not a desire to kill ignited by video games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      This suit has absolutely no chance of success.
      Agreed, but the general pattern of attempting to blame external influences for aberrant behavior represents a disturbing and increasing trend:
      1. Establish that the perpetrator is, in fact, a victim.
      2. Empower government to enact legislation, or, better still, a full-on program, to "correct" victimization manufactured in step 1.
      3. ????
      4. Profit.

      The moral of this story is "don't feed the sharks".
      • by russ1337 (938915) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:55AM (#16246285)
        You forgot an important point (1 a); Avoid responsibility for your own actions

        I'd say the killers parents hold some of the responsibility for their childs actions. They should have recognised violent behaviour from the game coming though to 'real life' and should have taken action - teaching the child that acting like that is unacceptable. Of course this does not happen 'in real life!!!

        There is no way the killer went from 'normal kid' then played a bunch of GTA and became 'insane murderer'. He would have developed his violent tendancies over time, and his parents should have picked up on this.

        And where the fuck did a 14 YO get a loaded gun from? - They have a lot to answer for.
    • by Corngood (736783) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:31AM (#16245827)
      It's easy, you just hold down the lock button, and then press the other buttons to cycle between targets. I'm not sure exactly where those buttons are on a real gun, but it shouldn't take long to find them.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:19AM (#16246745) Homepage
      "[Grand Theft Auto: Vice City] trained him ''how to point and shoot a gun in a fashion making him an extraordinarily effective killer."

      Bwa ha ha ha ha!

      This is one of those real nice litmus test statements. If someone for even a millisecond considers that this statement might be true, much more so if someone actually utters it themselves, then they clearly have no idea what they are talking about, they have never touched the game, and quite probably have never touched any video game except maybe Pac Man twenty years ago. They're just making shit up because it sounds nice in their lawsuit.

      Seriously. There is no way GTA teaches you how to shoot a gun. You hold down the target button until the guy you want to shoot has a green reticle over him, then you press fire. There's no aiming involved, there's no skill in holding a gun, hell you usually can't even see your character's hands since it's a 3rd person view from behind him. This game teaches you nothing.

      At least when some ambulence-chasing retard claims video games train people to kill, they at least pick one which involves aiming.

      'The $600 million lawsuit names several companies and Cody Posey, who it alleges played the game ''obsessively'' for several months before he shot his father, stepmother and stepsister in July 2004.

      So he was obsessed with the game and played for months before killing his family, eh? Well there's no family killing in GTA; if he was truly inspired by GTA he would have gone after cops, mobsters, or hookers. Sounds to me like adorable little Cody already had a target in mind and his obsession revolved around that!

      There's really only two options here.

      One: Cody was a perfectly innocent fourteen year old boy with no thoughts of violence until he witnessed them in GTA. In this case he may have been innocent but he was also batshit insane, and had he been exposed to the baneful influence of Warner Brothers cartoons he would have killed his family by dropping an anvil on their heads then saying "Th-th-th-th-that's all folks!"

      Two: Cody was not an innocent fourteen year old boy, he wasn't obsessed with GTA he was obsessed with slaying his family and GTA was just his focus/outlet. If GTA never existed, it would have been Natural Born Killers, and if not for that it would have been something else. A book, a movie, a play, a song, whatever, it doesn't matter, because that's not what drove him. His own motivations drove him.

      Let's see if TFA can help us distinguish which of these might be the case:

      Posey had told police he shot his family after his father, the ranch foreman, slapped him for not cleaning horse stalls fast enough. Prosecutors described Posey as a ruthless killer, but his lawyers claimed his father had abused him for years.

      Oh, lookie here! Seems like ol' Mr. Posey may have been slapping his boy around for years! So let's consider this again, which sounds more likely: Video games drove Codey Posey to kill his family, and without video games he never would have committed violence. Or recurrent child abuse drove Codey Posey to kill his family, and without recurrent child abuse he never would have committed violence.

      And now the boy's extended family -- who were either astoundingly ignorant of what went on, or knew and never did anything -- have enlisted Jack Thompson to help them get $600 million from a video game maker who is only tangentially related to a case about teen violence and child abuse. That's just low. That's a disgusting, sick way of cashing in on a broken family that nobody else tried to fix.

      Fuck you, Jack Thompson.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      This suit has already achieved success. The purpose of filing this suit is publicity for professional author and pundit (and sometimes lawyer, and sometimes disbarred lawyer [google.co.uk]) Jack Thompson. That's its only purpose, although the rubes that Thompson's duped into putting their name on it probably don't realise that yet.
  • coincidence? (Score:4, Informative)

    by tiltowait (306189) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:10AM (#16245349) Homepage Journal
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    The plaintiff's cousin's former roommate being the lawyer would be a coincidence. That someone doing what he normally does doens't consisitute a coincidence.
  • by debus (751449) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:11AM (#16245369)
    Too funny, when I clicked on this story, the add that came up on the right was for GTA: Vice City Stories. Just goes to show that no publicity is bad publicity...
  • by Cyphertube (62291) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:13AM (#16245407) Homepage Journal

    Ok, so if the 14-year-old playing the rated "M" game (for those 17+) was playing obsessively for months, then I would argue that the fault lies with whomever was responsible for him. This sounds like the fault of parents/guardians to properly raise the child. Any child that plays ANYTHING obsessively (as in, to the exclusion of any other interests) clearly has some kind of mental/emotional problem and should have help sought for them.

    Failure to parent and seek help cannot be blamed on Sony, Take-Two, Rockstar or anyone else. However, the direct consequences of allowing the child to continue to act in an obsessive manner can be blamed directly on parental negligence.

    File for summary dismissal based on their own grounds for the suit.

    • by Zaatxe (939368)
      Nevermind letting a 14-year-old who has obsession tendencies to have access to a gun!!
    • by iapetus (24050) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:27AM (#16245741) Homepage
      Ok, so if the 14-year-old playing the rated "M" game (for those 17+) was playing obsessively for months, then I would argue that the fault lies with whomever was responsible for him.

      Typical kneejerk liberal response. "Ooh, let's blame the parents for letting him play an M-rated game!" "Ooh, let's blame the abusive father!" "Ooh, let's blame the parents who left guns lying around!" "Ooh, let's blame the people who failed to provide any sort of care for a mentally unwell child!" This just shows your complete lack of understanding of the fundamental point of this case and others like it.

      There's no way the parents could afford to pay out on a $600m lawsuit, even if they weren't already dead.

    • by gosand (234100) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:32AM (#16245843)
      Ok, so if the 14-year-old playing the rated "M" game (for those 17+) was playing obsessively for months, then I would argue that the fault lies with whomever was responsible for him.

      I see. So if he was 18 and on his own, it would have all been ok?

      I find several things deplorable:

      1. People love laying blame on ONE thing as the cause of something. The game isn't at fault, but it may have been somewhat of a contributing factor. I know when I used to play some of those cockpit racing games at a Dave and Buster's, when I got in my car it felt a little weird. Gamers want to say that games have no impact on what a person does, but I think they do. So do movies, music, advertisements, etc. If they had no impact, then these things wouldn't exist. They have positive and negative IMPACTS. But they aren't the sole cause of anything.

      2. That violent games like these are so popular. I loved Quake, and Half-Life, etc. They were violent as hell. But I wasn't obsessed with them. I hate the fact that our society is obsessed with violence as entertainment. Just stop and look around. I may be a small part of it, and I am not suggesting that getting rid of these video games will solve it. It just kind of disturbs me when I step back and look at it. I guess when you glorify war, and turn a blind eye to the reality of it, there isn't much else you can expect.

      3. Our legal system, and what it has done to our society. Dispicable. It has tainted people to the point where nobody is willing to admit any fault with anything, for fear of being sued. The maker of these games can't say "yeah, ok, it is a pretty ruthless and violent game. But we certainly aren't responsible for this kid's actions." They have to say "We have a sticker on it! He shouldn't have been playing it anyway. It has no influence on people... Where were his PARENTS! It is their fault, not ours."

      4. All of these reasons roll together nicely into one package - and nobody will sincerely mention that this is a tragedy, and people were needlessly killed. See items 1 - 3.

    • by varmittang (849469) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:38AM (#16245965)
      Remember, here in the U.S.A, we have reached a new age where NOBODY is responsible for their own actions. Remember that.

      Somebody: Holy shit! I killed somebody! Bob made me do it!
      Bob: Joe made me do it!
      Joe: I blame the media!
      Media: Videogames.
      Videogames: Personal responsibility?
      Personal Responsibility: AFK
  • by Merph (1007421) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:14AM (#16245441)
    Notice that it was a 13 year old, playing a mature rated game (17+). If anyone is at fault, it is the parents who let him play the game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:14AM (#16245447)
    It may or may not be a coincidence that Jack Thompson is the plaintiff's attorney.

    Zonk, would you cut it out with your pointless editorializing? We all know that Jack Thompson's involvement in suits like this has nothing to do with his irrational hatred of anything game-related.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cowscows (103644)
      Actually, my new theory is that Jack Thompson is just a huge Nintendo fanboy, but disguises this fact by pretending it's all about violence. And since Nintendo only makes kiddie games, he'll never have to criticise them, and he only has to sue Sony and maybe Microsoft.

      All you Sony and MS fanboys whining about him crapping on your hobby need to realize that he's actually crapping on your particular consoles, and that he's twice the genius fanboy that you'll ever be.
  • by SRA8 (859587) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:14AM (#16245449)
    The current batch of video games are nothing but an unspoken "plan" to desensitize youth to violence and killing with the hopes of creating better soldiers for the coming clash of the civilizations. The government will never let such suits go through.
    • ...the coming clash of the civilizations.

      Bah, Civilization III is clearly superior to Civilization II. It will win the clash.
  • Rated M (Score:5, Insightful)

    by max8061 (693586) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:16AM (#16245481)
    Why not sue whoever was letting a 14 year old play a rated M game for hours on end? No, we must sue the ones with the most money instead. Great logic.
    • by Cyphertube (62291)

      That's because they have no money and aren't worth a suit.

      It's too bad, because of such piss-poor parenting, the parents should be looking at criminal charges.

  • by jlebrech (810586) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:17AM (#16245495) Homepage
    I'm suing the makers of T.R.O.N
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Thansal (999464)
      fow what?

      getting you to dress up in a skin tight, neon light covered, crotch emphasizing suit when you are 240 lbs?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
      I ran into a brick wall...I'm suing the makers of T.R.O.N.

      And I am suing as well...thanks to those jackasses I came to believe that you could turn a bike at a right angle going 80 mph and it would be fine. Its their fault they did not inform me about the consequences and realities of inertia and kinetic energy!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    who it alleges played the game ''obsessively'' for several months before he shot his father
    Cody Posey probably also did other things on a regular basis ''obsessively'' for several months before he shot his father, such as eating, sleeping and using the bathroom. Are they naming fast-food restaurants, furniture retailers and plumbing merchants in the suit also?
    Correlation != Causation.
    Having said that, I noticed the following statement in the first post (above):
    since gun makers aren't accountable for un
  • by drew_kime (303965) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16245517) Homepage Journal
    Or rather, it's the stupid parents. Unless letting a kid play a violent video game "obsessively" for several months is good parenting this year. But I don't think so.
  • Parenting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1 AT verizon DOT net> on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16245521) Homepage
    If we give their argument a benefit of the doubt and he the game taught him to do this, it still falls on parenting to limit is amount of time playing the game. Parents have an obligation to teach their kids morals, the difference of right and wrong, and general social skills among other things. If your son is playing any game an excessive amount, maybe it's time to take him out to the baseball field or footbal field or hunting or whatever. Teach him to be constructive at a young age.
  • by Peter Trepan (572016) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16245529)
    She stomps mushrooms, shoots fireballs, and has demolished at least a dozen of my nice barrels with a massively oversized hammer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Apocalypse111 (597674)
      Problem? Sounds to me like your little girl is getting plenty of exercise in addition to her video gaming. A good balance, IMHO.
  • but I cant.. Jack Thompson is on the phone..
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc[ ].com ['.rr' in gap]> on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16245539) Homepage
    Back in the 50's did parents sue Clayton Moore for encouraging kids to play with guns? There has always been and always will be a certain group that attempt to shift the blame from parenting and personal responsibility to an "external influence". Since the Baroque era and most likely before pop culture has always been tagged as the cause of the decline of civilization. Where is the uproar over television, GTA is far less gory than the average episode of CSI. I've read many books with far more graphic violence. Those are accepted now since the old guard have lived with them most if not all of their lives. When we are all in our 60's and 70's video games will be ok and we will surely be bitching about something else new that we dont understand and see as a corruption of morality.
  • That's like sueing Poland Springs because all people with cancer have at some point drank water prior to the cancer manifesting itself.
  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:20AM (#16245565)
    It is the player's choice to kill, or rob, or rape, or maim. Just like in real life. I can ask you to do something vile and reprehensible, but it is always your choice as to whether or not you will comply.

    This reminds me of a woman I met a few weeks back. She told me she plays WoW but that she doesn't get too far in the game because she refuses to kill anything with a humanoid shape. In essense if it walks on two legs, has two arms and a head centered on the upright torso she will not kill it.

    She still enjoys the game, but she realises that she will never get too far. It's the same thing with GTA.

    By the way, in GTA:San Andreas you get to fly a plane. Why haven't we seen an increase in plane thefts if GTA is such a good tutor? In the many Spider-man and Batman games we see characters seinging from roof to roof. Why have'nt we seen an increase in morons trying this if video games are like Jedi and have so much influence on the weak-minded?

  • Again, correlation != causation (how many time will we have to explain this to people?!)

    It's just too easy to blame GTA because of the violent content. Would they be so quick to sue the video game makers if they had found out that he'd been obsessively playing "Barbie Fashion Designer" for six months before his psychotic break with reality?
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:21AM (#16245597) Homepage Journal
    It's only a matter of time before Queen Elizabeth is assassinated by some bishop.
  • When I read the headline the first thing I thought was "I'm sure Jack Thompson's involved somewhere in this thing".

    Last time I checked, I've played quite a few hours of World of Warcraft and as of yet, I haven't had the urge to to cast an AOE on everybody in the cafeteria.

    I wish I knew the day personal responsibility died, so I could mark is a day of rememberance.
  • Anyone else seeing the GTA: Vice City Stories banner ad on the right of the summary?
  • by iapetus (24050) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:22AM (#16245639) Homepage
    The game trained him "how to point and shoot a gun in a fashion making him an extraordinarily effective killer."

    Where can I buy one of those real-world guns with a slightly clunky auto-aim feature?

  • That I can't stop running after mushrooms. It's not bad when I go for a walk in the park, but it's hell in grocery stores and pizza places.
  • by RembrandtX (240864) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:38AM (#16245981) Homepage Journal
    Ignoring that the attourney is Jack-'I wont actually dontate to charaity even though I said I would neener-neener-neener'-Thompson :

    caviet: I am under the assumption that 'obsessivly playing for 55 hours' is in a few close together sessions, not spread out over 8 months.

    One might just question exatly *WHAT* kind of a home life would allow a kid to play an ultra-violent video game for 55 hours in a two day period.

    I mean .. lets face it .. the kid probably came from a shitty homelife in the first place, giving him a LOT more [to a kid] justifiable reasons to kill his family than playing video games.

    Maybe no one was HOME for a few days. Maybe he was abused. who knows .. but chances are .. any homelife that will alow him to 'obsessivly' play a video games for 2-3 days straight .. well .. lets just say there are already issues there.

    just my question on the matter.
  • by notnAP (846325) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:42AM (#16246039)
    The three corporations named in this suit - Sony Corporation of America, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and its subsidiary, Rockstar Games - have filed suit against ABC Television Network. The suit also includes the families who are suing these corporations.

    According to the corporations' lawyers, these families watched the show The Practice "obsessively" for several months, and were given the false impression that you can sue anyone for anything and make it an enjoyable and profitable time for all.

    They have hinted they may sue ABC again on behalf of same corporations afterwards. They claim that ABC gave them the idea to sue ABC by airing The Practice, which the lawyers also watch "obsessively," casuing them to sue ABC, resulting in financial damage to the corporations in the form of lawyers' fees.

    No word yet about whether or not they would sue a third time to recoup the fees incurred during the second suit.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • by rk (6314) * on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:49AM (#16246179) Journal

    I've decided to climb a clock tower and take out half my hometown with a sniper rifle. I never would've done this if Jack Thompson didn't do what he does. As such, he is completely responsible for the deaths I cause.

  • by Maul (83993) on Friday September 29, 2006 @10:55AM (#16246283) Journal
    - Video games have taught me -

    How to effectively wield: knifes, swords, shields, heavy armor, maces, axes, staves, pole arms, bows, crossbows, slingshots, boomerangs, bug catching nets, nunchucks, ninja stars, pistols, sniper rifles, automatic weapons, missile launchers, grenade launchers, bombs, railguns, plasma weapons, BFGs, gravity guns, personal teleporters, chainsaws, hookshots, and many other things.

    How to ride/drive/pilot: horses, skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, hoverboards, motorcycles, race cars, helicopters, commercial jets, fighter jets, tanks, jetskis, boats, hovercraft, Arwings, X-Wings, A-Wings, B-Wings, Tie Fighters, and the USS Enterprise 1701. To name a few.

    Use of the following skills: magic, psyonics, alchemy, dancing, singing, proficiency with musical instruments, the Force, hacking, martial arts, military tactics, espionage, mining, medical skills, and legal skills [mrdictionary.net].
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:03AM (#16246459) Homepage
    As I posted on my blog, if you look around the courtv site, you see lots of coverage of Cody Posey's case. During a police interview Posey claimed his father forced him to have sex with his step-mother and during the trial testified that his father has emotionally and physically abused him for years. So Thompson is arguing that playing videogames is more dangerous than child abuse.

    Looking at the details of the case,and reading between the lines, it basically seems that the father's side of the family denies all the abuse charges and wanted Cody Posey sentenced as an adult, while the mother(birth mother, not step-mother) and her side believes all the abuse charges and wanted Cody Posey sentenced as a minor. He got sentenced as a minor, so the father's side is basically mad about it.

    The lawsuit is a wrongfull death suit against Cody himself as well as Take 2. Therefore, it seems certain that Cody's mother's side of the family will be pushing the abuse angle heavilly. Therefore, I can't imagine that this suit will actually even get to talking about videogames. I imagine that it will be mainly about excrusiating detail about the abuse.

    Moreover, Sanders, the lawyer in New Mexico who is actually trying the lawsuit does not seem to be associated with a large law firm, so a) if it does actually focus on videogames, it will be Sander and Thompson against an army of corporate lawyers and b) the research I found about Sanders indicates that he is mainly a contract lawyer which doesn't seem so great of a choice for such a lawsuit.

    Jack is in way over his head and is caught in between this battle between the father's family and the mother and her family. I'm really tempted to think that Jack chose this case specifically so that he could get a bunch of publicity and then when the case starts and focuses on the abuse, he can pull a New Orleans move and back away blaming family for not telling him about the abuse and accusing the horrible big law firm of ganging up on little old him.
  • Blame Canada... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DesertWolf0132 (718296) on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:24AM (#16246873) Homepage

    No, seriously, blame the idiot parents who bought their 14 year old kid a game clearly labled Mature and in which the title itself is the name of a fellony. With a name like Grand Theft Auto, did they think it would be about a nice man who races cars and teaches yoga in his spare time? Honestly, there is no content in the GTA series designed for, or fit for anyone under 18.

    This kid was 14 so of course content that rough would warp his brain. Most video game vendors in my area won't sell Rated M games to minors without a parent. If the family actually thought this a real concern they should have taken the game away. I personally enjoy the GTA series but I don't even put it in the Playstation until my kid is in bed. When I am not playing my rated M games they get locked up in the safe. That is why the "Hot Coffee" incident made me mad. Anyone too young to see animated porn should really not be playing at carjacking and killing people with golf clubs, guns, swords, flamethrowers, or cars.

    Neglectful parents unwilling to take an interest in their child's activities are just asking for trouble. Just like parents need to monitor what movies their kids watch, games need to be paid attention to and the content discussed. If you are unwilling to educate yourself you don't deserve to reproduce.

    Then again, how about just blaming the abusive father...

  • by V Radcliffe (993336) <ryunogekido@gmail.com> on Friday September 29, 2006 @11:48AM (#16247309)
    Let me lay in with my experiences with gaming and how they IMPROVED my life and helped me see a worlds beyond the closed walls I lived in for 16 years of my life.

    My mother was, and is still unfortunately mentally unstable. She became increasingly so as she grew older. She didn't have the skills or the capacity to take care of me, her two sisters and ailing mother on her side. Unable to coupe with work and what it took to take care of a child she kept me locked in my room when I wasn't required to go to school. She, on many occasions tried to take me out of school, and it was only at the behest of school officials and councilors, and my own force of will that I was able to come back and finish high school.

    Being someone well under the poverty line, single with a child, with 3 other people living in the same roof, government money rained in. Every way money could be fleeced from the welfare department, family children services, my estranged father was used. Which should have been a life line. It should have paid for school, college, doctors, and necessities. But being someone in her diminished capacity she squandered the money on collectibles from her youth, a house well beyond she could afford, and new cars. The one thing she did for me is kept me occupied, and the best way to do that in the late 80's through the 90's was with gaming systems. I had every system the day of release and a large library of games. I also eventually got a computer with Internet access.

    And that's what saved me. Where I come from, there's close to no jobs, no good schools, and almost no growth. The majority of people extort welfare and usually turn to drugs and theft to get by. Being manager of a Sonic's or McDonald's is a big thing around here. Outside of that the only thing you can be is a nurse at the local hospital (Phoebe is the largest private real estate owner and only truly successful business in the region, other manufactures are all shutting down or not hiring) or join the Marines. Ask anyone from here and they'll all tell you the same thing, you don't get anything out of life, you'll never leave town, and you shouldn't try. Above all, you should never try, you just waste the energy it takes to get up in the morning to go to crummy job to get by.

    All of those people grew up in almost the same environment, whether it was substance abuse, or general poverty, one way or another their parents and household was broken with few exceptions. But all of those people just feed the cycle. They drop out, they smoke weed, they have kids before their 21, they work at Burger King, they hate their life.

    But I didn't, and you know why. Because when Crono, Marle, and Lucca found Lavos bringing the world to an end in the future, they didn't go Well shit, life's a bitch. and went home and smoked crack. I wanted to go to school, watched the History Channel, and used the Internet to learn (and, gasp, didn't look up porn all day). Why? Because Snake knew 6 languages, had a vast knowledge of culture and history, and was a motherfucking bad ass. I wanted to be that bad ass. Anyone who wishes they could be Solid Snake should know what Manhattan means. And after I finished school I've worked non-stop to start my own business, which is about to come to fruition instead of sticking with some shithole job, I've spent my time and money working for something that will pay off better in the long run. And take a guess why? Because Tommy Vercetti did that's why. He didn't take lip from anyone who was in his way, he didn't do drugs, and above all let anything get in the way of what he needed to do to climb to the top.

    Games did more than give me good role models when there wasn't any at hand ether. If it weren't for video games I wouldn't have been exposed to classical music, and would have been stuck with this watered down rap and rock companies push on us these days. I wouldn't have learned how to read and write as fast as I did without a hands-on parent. I wouldn't have been exposed to a plethora
  • ah, the irnoy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Friday September 29, 2006 @12:31PM (#16248019)
    So he shot his parents after playing GTA. You mean he played GTA, got a gun, and shot his parents. He shot the very people who were responsible for ensuring that he didn't play violent games, and didn't get access to a gun.

    Seems fair to me....bad parenting should be a capital offense. It's just too bad he killed the girl too.

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